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sinews and ligaments) the head, by its weight, will moreover naturally fall forward, and a bending in the back will ensue, and chiefly in the weaker parts, about the loins and the small of the back. Hence comes in some measure that incurvation so remarkable in old persons, and of which the poets have not failed to take notice; hence Otway makes the Hag or Witch in the Orphan to be
-with age grown
And next in order sad old age we found,
A weakness in the thorar or chest, by which it becomes unable to support in the best and most upright manner, the weight of the head and parts above, contributes mainly to this apparent incurvation. And this weakness in that part, of which old persons are very sensible, and often will complain of, saying how hollow they find themselves there, with a weariness and a small degree of pain, is owing, I conceive, partly to the relaxation of the tendons of the neck, particularly the aponeurosis, which lets the head drop, as it were, and press the more upon the thorar; and partly to the dead and fixed state, as now they are deprived of their spring, of the cartilages of the ribs, whereby the os ensiforme is but ill supported and fortified against this new and additional weight, yea rather gives way and yields unto it. Whatever is the cause, the os, or cartilugo ensiformis certainly does not duly and adequately perform its function in this advanced
Ån anatomist might probably say a great deal more on this subject, and illustrate it far better. To him I shall therefore leave it, (and it certainly deserves his regard) only adding, it would give me pleasure to see it further and more masterly considered, 1771, Aug.
stage of life.
XXXIX. The Cruelty of Collectors of Insects censured.
MR. URBAN, THE cruelty of anatomists, in their experiments on living animals, is often dreadful to relate, and is already enlarged upon by Essay Writers in their useful miscellanies: but I am not certain whether the entomologist or collector of insects has not hitherto passed without censure, though he practises the most unrelenting cruelty on flies, moths, and spiders: he takes pleasure to impale for days and weeks the papilonaceous race with corking pins, with which his cushion is replete i whilst the libellutæ, or dragon Aies, are killed by squeezing the thorax, or with the spirit of turpentine, to the no small horror of the humane and benevolent, who are of opinion, that science* might be improved, and learning increased without such barbarities : and it may be observed, both science and learning are dearly acquired at the expence of that humanity, which is more necessary than either, in our road through life.
Let me, in a few words, (a multitude are not requisite) inform those gentlemen, they certainly have forgotten, that, in ages long ago, a venerable ancient philosopher, named Pythagoras, prescribed the utmost mercy to inferior animals; they are, perhaps, also not apprized, that the sect of Bramins still reverence his precepts, and literally follow his example. It is recorded in history, that the Athenian court, called the Areopagite, was particularly careful to punish offenders of this kind. Even a child, who, in the wantonness of his recreation, had deprived an innocent bird of its sight, was condemned by one of these Grecian magistrates, and suffered a very severe punishment.
Of the fair sex, I would willingly hope, there are but few of those cruel naturalists; at least I do not recollect but on in the circle of my observațion, nor do I wish the number may increase. Your present correspondent, Mr. Urban, (like a person who reveres the Eastern Shastah) has formed a resolution to deprive of life, not even one of those minutiæ of the creation. The poor beetle from me shall feel no corporal sufferance: the butterfly, unmolested by my hand, may range from flower to flower: the gnat may deposit his eggs, and the spider renew his web, without sustaining any injury.
It is my firm opinion, that we have no unlimited dominion over the insect tribe; and though man may be considered 26 the delegate of heaven, over the inferior creatures, he is
not causelessly, wantonly to immerse his hands in their blood, or cause them to linger in cruel tortures. It is true, I have little faith in the doctrine of Metempsychosis, yet let me recommend the Christian doctrines of pity and compassion. And, however strange and singular these principles may ap. pear to the impaling murderers in question, persons endowed with sensibility of mind, I am sure, will applaud them. 1771, Sept.
XL. On the Process of Vegetation in Trees.
Black Bourton, Oxon, Oct. 12, 1771. MR. URBAN, SOME consideration on the process of vegetation in trees, may not only be a matter of curiosity, but from thence some beneficial effects to mankind may possibly be deduced.
In spring and summer, the sap abounds with salts, and is perfectly fluid, by which means the nutritious juices are conveyed through all the more minute ducts, to every part of the tree, for the purposes of vegetation; but as winter adyances, and that is no longer to be carried on, the sap begins to grow thick and viscid, and thereby rendered incapable of paşsing through the smaller vessels, by which means the leaves of all those which are classed under the name of trees with deciduous leaves, for want of their due nourishment, fall off and perish. In winter the sap assumes another form, retires to the bark, abounds with oil, and in that state seems designed by providence as a defensitive to the vital parts of the tree against the inclemency of the weather, during that torpid state. But as the spring comes on, it again liquifies, and these oleaginous parts are by nature elaborated into a thin aqueous juice, to pervade every part of it for vegetation.
I have been informed, that the bark of oak is fit for tanning, only when taken off in the spring of the year, when the oily parts contained in it are digested into the fluidity of sap, and if taken off in the winter, would be totally useless for that purpose; and therefore should think that the tapning property of it, arises from the sap-aqueous juice contained in it: and if so, it may be worth while to consider whether the tapping of the oak in spring might not produce liquor in great quantity fit for this purpose; but as this would soon ferment and grow into.a spirituous liquor, and thereby be sa
totally changed, as not to be at all proper for this use; that fermentation might be prevented by boiling it down, and throwing off the aqueous parts by evaporation, as is every day practised in the fresh juices of the grape, and made into a rob; so to concentre its juices, as to prevent fermentation, and reduce it to a body. And in this form the sap of trees might be safely conveyed from great distances, and at any time made use of.
To this let me add, it is found that nuts, mast, and seeds of every kind, plentifully-abound with oil, and perhaps for the same reason, that bark in winter is full of it, to be a preservative of the corcnlum, or vegetative principle; and, indeed, seeds of every kind have a much greater quantity of oil contained in thein, than in the same portion of bark, as a superior care may perhaps be necessary for their preservation; and it is to be observed, that as soon as nuts, acorns, mast, &c. begin to vegetate, their juices become aqueous, rancid, acrid, and austere; and if eaten in that state, are productive of the most dangerous consequences, and in some instances fatal. From this process of nature it has occurred to me, that if acorns were artificially made to vegetate, in the manner made use of in malting of corn, a more powerful material for tanning might be produced, than the oak bark; and perhaps repeated trials and experience of other seeds in the same way, might indicate others, equally, or more, adapted for this purpose, 1771, Nov.
XLI. Extraordinary Effects of Pestilential Winds.
MR. URBAN, We have an account in several authors, as noted in the margin*, of certain hot, sultry, pestilential, or rather suffocating winds, in the Levant. They blow from the deserts, and are met with in Egypt, Persia, Assyria, India, and other countries adjacent to large and extensive plains of sand. But, not to be tedious, I shall here only give you the words of two authors concerning these mortal blasts. Thevenot
* Thevenot, p. 177, 261. Part II. p. 54. 116. et seq. 135, 138. Tavernier, p. 256. Part Il. p. 44. Dr. Shaw's Travels, p. 217, 218, 379. Bryant, p. 7. Shaw's Supplement, p. 11. Hyde de Relig. Vet. Pers. p. 339.
writes, p. 177, “In this journey from Sarr to Caire, for a day's time and more, we had so hot a wind, that we were forced to turn our backs to it, to take a little breath, and so soon as we opened our mouths, they were full of sand. Our water was so extremely heated with it, that it seemed to be just taken off the fire; and many poor people of the caravan came and begged of us a cup of water, for God's sake. For our parts we could not drink it, it was so hot. The camels were so infested with this wind, that they could not so much as feed; but it lasted not above six hours in its force; and, if it had continued longer, one half of the caravan would have perished. It was such a kind of wind that the year before so infested the caruvan of Mecca, that two thousand men died of it in one night.”
The words of Tavernier, speaking of Bander-Abbassi, p. 256, are “March being past, the wind changes, and blowing at W. S. W. in a short time it grows so hot and so stifling, that it almost takes away a man's breath. This wind is by the Arabians called El-samiel, or the poisonous wind; by the Persians, Badesambour, because it suffocates and kills. presently. The flesh of them that are thus stifled, feels like a glewy fat, and as if they had been dead a month before, &c."
Now there is a remarkable passage, in Dr. Shaw's Supplement to his Travels, relative to this matter, which I think requires a different solution from what the learned Doctor has given it. He says, “ At Siabah, a few days journey beyond Ras-Sem, towards Egypt, there is a whole caravan, consisting of men, asses and camels, which, from time immemorial, has been preserved at that place. The greatest part of these bodies still continues perfect and entire, from the heat of the sun, and the dryness of the climate; and the tradition is, that they were all of them originally surprised, suffocated, and dryed up, by the hot, scorching winds that sometimes frequent those deserts *.
This, however, does not appear to me at all probable; for Tavernier observes above, and I think very justly, that the poisonous winds here spoken of, have a tendency rather to corrupt an animal body, and to cause it to putrefy, than to preserve it. And this is confirmed by Mons. Thevenot, Part ii. p. 54, where he
says, 6. No sooner does a man de by this wind, but he becomes as black as a coal; and if one take
* Shaw's Travels, p. 379, and Supplement, p. 11. 18,